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Chemistry LibreTexts

Phobia Treatment

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    187382
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    People can learn to overcome phobias by gradually facing their fears. This is not easy at first. It takes willingness and bravery. Sometimes people need the help of a therapist to guide them through the process.

    Overcoming a phobia usually starts with making a long list of the person's fears in least-to-worst order. For example, with a dog phobia, the list might start with the things the person is least afraid of, such as looking at a photo of a dog. It will then work all the way up to worst fears, such as standing next to someone who's petting a dog, petting a dog on a leash, and walking a dog.

    Gradually, and with support, the person tries each fear situation on the list — one at a time, starting with the least fear. The person isn't forced to do anything and works on each fear until he or she feels comfortable, taking as long as needed.

    As somebody gets used to a feared object or situation, the brain adjusts how it responds and the phobia is overcome.

    Often, the hardest part of overcoming a phobia is getting started. Once a person decides to go for it — and gets the right coaching and support — it can be surprising how quickly fear can melt away.